Once, I'd written a story that mentioned a boy I'd met during my short stint in Pittsburgh. He and I had talked about travelling and living and being away from home. On my last night in the city he'd driven me home and stopped to have me listen to an Ani Difranco song because of one particular line, "My life may not be something special/but it's never been lived before". I think I might have girlishly fell in love with him right there. For years, I never could figure out which song it was. One Christmas, though, I opened a present from Kim and there it was. The CD, the song. She'd gone online and asked fans on message boards about it to find it.
And there are plenty more, I'm sure. I can't remember them all at this moment... The journal my grandparents gave me to use when I finally made a trip to Israel - which I'm still saving for that trip. The signed copy of an Alice Hoffman novel.
"I'm just really stressing out and I need someone to talk to. And Rachel is sick."
So Leslie said she was coming up to work. She needed someone to talk to. I told her I'd meet her outside for a cigarette & a quick vent.
When I saw her standing at her car, I heard two "hello"s. Rachel came out from behind the Jeep they were parked next to. A bag with a ribbon sat on the hood of Leslie's car.
"I thought you were sick," I said.
Rachel grabbed the bag and handed it to me. "Happy Birthday," she said.
"My birthday was in January," I said back. "And you guys already got me stuff."
"No we didn't," said Rachel.
"I got you something you already had," said Leslie. "That doesn't count."
"Read your card," said Rachel.
There are some nights that play out like a James Cameron film. They are sweet and understated and deserve a incomparable score like the kind Nancy Wilson cooks up.
And so my friends bought me a belated birthday present. Inside, the card was signed by Rachel, Leslie and even Rachel's parents. And inside the bag...was this:
It's not just that I got the coolest present, and something I'd been bitching about wanting for longer than I can remember. It's not even that I'm going to use that thing like crazy. It was the card, really. And the thought. I mean, people always say it's the thought - but really, this time, it was the thought.
And so I couldn't say thank you enough, and I couldn't find the right words, and I kept hugging them. And when I got back into work, I read the card again, and the tears welled up. And then I opened the box...and MYpod - is very pretty. I think I'll give it a name. Yes...definitely.
Name to come.